New Signs Around Town – Reminding You that Dogs Must be On Leash

March 2, 2020

If you and your canine friend(s) have been out and about in the past week or so, you may have noticed some new informational signs around town. These are intended to remind folks that:

  • All dogs must be on leash in any public parks, school grounds, commercial districts, and public steps, lanes and paths.
  • If you use an expansion-type leash, it must be contracted to a length of no more than 6 feet.
  • No dogs are permitted on any City athletic field or school property unless in an assigned viewing area for the event.


Based on community feedback requesting clarification of existing regulations regarding dogs in public places, the City Council asked the Parks and Recreation Commission to take up the issue. The Commission conducted several meetings and approved a set of recommendations to make existing regulations in the Mill Valley Municipal Code clearer to the general public. The Commission’s recommendations took into account community input, staff analysis of dog control regulations in cities throughout Marin County, and best practices in alignment with the majority of dog control rules in Northern California.

The Council reviewed the recommended clarifications and approved them at their October 21, 2019, meeting. The ordinance amended Municipal Code language to clarify where and when dogs must be on a leash around town. They are linked in Section 6.04.160 and of Section 6.04.175 if you would like to read them.

“For a long time, the City’s leash laws were unclear,” Mayor Jim Wickham said. “Getting these rules cleared up is important for everyone, and gets everyone on the same page when they are out enjoying our parks, paths and other public spaces.”  

Next Steps

Following the Council’s action, Police, Recreation, and Public Works staff plan to enhance public outreach to better communicate existing regulations. This includes more signs at parks and public spaces throughout Mill Valley, a dedicated page of the City's website on current dog control regulations and recreational opportunities, and a Citywide public information and education campaign.

Anticipating the needs of the City’s active human and canine community, future topics for Council consideration include: improvements to the Mill Valley Dog Park, a potential pilot "off leash" program at Boyle Park (picnic area) at specific days and times, and new regulations to limit the number of dogs that may be walked by individuals and commercial dog walkers within the City limits.

Question/comments may be directed to:

Tony Boyd, Public Works Operations Superintendent at W: (415)388-4242 or